If you have carried a concealed firearm for any amount of time you know the challenges you may face in doing it effectively. One of those challenges is managing the relationship between your clothing and your holster or method of securing your weapon.
It can be enough of a challenge while wearing “normal” clothing, but what about when you are wearing something like basketball shorts or gym shorts? This adds a whole new level of difficulty. At this point, a lot of folks just leave their weapon at home or they secure it somewhere else. Other folks haphazardly carry it utilizing whatever method is convenient. This is not the best decision.
In order to conceal carry in basketball or gym shorts, you need to utilize a method that safely and effectively secures your weapon during physical activities. You can take advantage of workout shorts with belt loops, belly band style holsters, or even concealment compression shorts. The key is to use something that prevents you from losing control of your weapon, while still allowing a reasonable level of accessibility.
Now, I need to get something out of the way before we did into this deeper. I understand there is no optimal solution for this and some of the “techniques, solutions, or methods” people use are pretty hokey. I’m with you.
However, people are carrying while wearing these types of garments and it’s worth starting a dialogue around the subject matter. Some of these techniques I have tried and used personally and the rest are mostly from friends and colleagues. A couple have been recommended, but I have not used them enough to give a personal account. However, I will provided my biased opinion on them.
Problem with Basketball or Gym Shorts
One of the main problems with shorts of this type is there is not an effective way to keep concealed weapons in place. They are designed for high activity and movement, and because of this, they are most often designed with elastic waistbands and a drawstring to tighten them up.
You can try to cinch up the pull string as much as possible, but it will still not provide a stable platform for the smallest of weapons. The weight of the gun will constantly provide a downward pull requiring constant adjustment. This creates additional issues with weapon retainment, printing, and constant adjusting.
Alright, now is time to have the obligatory safety talk. All joking aside, as a responsible gun owner safety should be paramount. I have personally witnessed a weapon fall out of a pair of workout shorts at gym. I know what you’re thinking and no, it was not mine.
When you are carrying a weapon in less than ideal situations you have to be more diligent than ever to maintain safety. Under no circumstance should you be in a position “recreationally” where your weapon falls out due to negligence on you part. Phew…now that that is out of the way, let’s carry on.
Type of Activity
When you start going down the rabbit hole You will find there are a number of options you can take advantage of or try. One thing that will help you narrow down this list is considering the type of activities you will be participating in.
There are certain things that I would think you would have a very difficult time doing. for instance, despite this article having the phrase “basketball shorts” in the title, you’re going to have a hard time safely concealing any weapon while actually playing basketball. It’s just not something that I would try to do.
However, there are a number of physical activities you can take advantage of and safely conceal in an efficient manner. Can you give us, look at what you will be doing and make your decisions accordingly.
One thing you should strongly consider if you’re going to be concealing during physical activity is carrying a smaller weapon. It just makes sense to use something that will be impacted less by gravity, etc.
I know the benefits of carrying a firearm with more capacity, a longer sight radius, less recoil, and all the other perks. However, that large frame weapon won’t do you any good when you have to leave it locked up because you can’t adequately carry it.
Even if you carry a full-size gun on a regular basis, considering using contact or smaller frame weapon activities where you know you’re going to be more physical. Especially if you are wearing clothes like basketball shorts or gym shorts.
So, with all that being said, let’s get into some different concealment options.
Workout Shorts with Belt Loops
The first option we are looking at are basically a pair of gym shorts that are setup with belt loops to accommodate concealed carry. The particular shorts we are talking about are the Carry Gym Shorts by Gadsden Dynamics.
These shorts are much like a normal pair of workout shorts in the sense they are made from a 100% polyster microtech fabric that has moisture wicking and anti-odor capabilities. The belt loops accommodate belts up to 1.5″ wide, which will allow you to more easily carry a holster/firearm while still allowing for some of the benefits of workout clothes.
If you prefer a more casual look, you could also wear these for activities outside of working out. They also feature side “hand” pockets which can prove to be nice as well, especially if you need a place to stick your carry license, gym card, etc.
The belt loops are made out of a material that allows some stretch to be a little more accommodating to various belts and body movement. My recommendation is to wear a proper gun belt with the least amount of mass/thickness as possible. This will be more comfortable during workout sessions.
Belly Band Holster
Love them or hate them, belly band holsters are here to stay. I hate to admit it, but I do use one from time to time depending on the situation or activity. Belly band holsters have been around for quite some time and come in a variety of options. Who can forget Thunderwear?
One thing is for sure, times have changed and so have our options. When it comes to belly band “type” holsters I have been using the Clutch by Unity Tactical. At the risk of getting flamed, I will say that this thing is awesome. You can pretty much conceal an entire loadout if you desire.
For anyone doing low-vis or undercover type work, it provides a utilitarian option for carrying a complement of gear. For the average Joe, it can serve many purposes…from daily concealed carry to a nightstand loadout. If you hear that bump in the night you can hop up, strap this thing on and have a firearm, extra mag, flashlight, med gear, etc., all available in a moments notice.
It also provides a solid option for carrying concealed in gym or workout style shorts. It fits super tight to the body (and can be adjusted) with stretch material. It has a no-slip type material (I have no idea what it is) that really helps hold it in place once it is strapped on.
It also has a variety of pocket/sleeves where you can carry your weapon and wallet/ID when needed. For workout type purposes, I would definitely keep the loadout to a minimum to help facilitate more active use. It’s nice to be able to slap a Kydex holster in there and velcro it in to get passive retention for both firearms and blades.
My love/hate with this product has to do with the cost. It is expensive coming in at around $150. That will be a turnoff for some and not for others. I’m glad to have made the purchase and the quality is top-notch; however, I would be extremely happy at a slightly lower price point.
Compression Concealment Shorts
Concealment compression shorts are something I have to say I’ve never tried. I guess people do, because there are a lot of options for both men and women. This product is exactly what it sounds like. It is a set of compression shorts that have integrated “holsters” to aid in concealing a firearm.
The holsters are basically pockets made out of the same material as the shorts, typically a polyester/spandex blend. Most of these types of shorts do not offer any type of retention and I wouldn’t trust that for any type of physical activity. It may be an option to wear around the house when you are lounging around, but I will leave that up to you.
Similar to the compression shorts mentioned above are compression shirts used for concealment. To the best of my knowledge, these were made popular by 5.11 Tactical years ago.
Now, I know what you’re saying…these have nothing to do with shorts. Yes, I agree. But, if you are wearing gym shorts, this may be an option to carrying while wearing that type of attire.
This particular shirt features dual holster/shoulder pockets for right or left-hand draw. The inner area of the “holster” is padded to offer a layer of concealment and comfort between your weapon and body. Again, these are made from a poly/spandex blend in most instances.
Again, one thing to keep in mind is that there is no level retention with this type of garment. Consider how and where you will be using it when making your decision.
Belt Under Shorts
This idea may be out there a bit and I’m with you, but bear with me. I have tried this method for research’s sake, but I have never “used” it…if that makes sense. I have heard and read of people simply wearing a belt underneath their basketball shorts and simply using a holster (typically, inside the waistband) to carry. In other words, put on a belt, add your holster, then slap your shorts on over the top. What the what?
Those that have used this method swear by it. I’m not sure about it either way and will leave that up to you. However, it is an option that some people use and in the fairness of reporting I have to tell you about it.
What does all this mean? Well, if you like wearing athletic type shorts with elastic bands, and you like to carry concealed at the same time, there are some options for you. I wouldn’t say that any of these are ideal, but they are options nonetheless.
The biggest consideration, in my opinion, is the retention that most of these holsters offer. I like to have solid retention for highly physical activities. I don’t want to worry about my weapon at all. So, that is a driving factor in a lot of the holsters I use.
My top choice out of all of these options is the Clutch, but you are going to pay for it. Sometimes you get what you pay for. I don’t see myself ever wearing this thing out and being able to use a solid holster within the Clutch that offers solid passive retention is big. If clothing solutions are your thing, consider trying the carry shorts by Gadsden Dynamics. They have great reviews from everyone who has used them.
These options aren’t for everyone, but for those who are interested maybe these options will aid in your search.